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The horror game genre is one of the most saturated gaming markets right now. Whether it’s a new indie horror or a new Resident Evil, horror game fans generally have plenty of games to go around. Now, new development studio Brass Token is attempting to break into that market with its inaugural title: an atmospheric horror title called The Chant.
Brass Token describes The Chant as a “third-person horror action-adventure” game. Playing as Jess Briar, a traumatized young woman looking for some kind of guidance in her life, who finds herself at Prismic Science Spiritual Retreat on a remote island. A ritual goes awry, just like them, and players must survive against an onslaught of “psychedelic” cosmic horrors.
Speaking to GamesBeat in an interview, Brass Token CEO Mike Skupa described the core concept of the game: “It started out by wondering what would happen if I had a spiritual awakening, and it turned out to be more of a horrible experience than a positive… We’re a small boutique studio, so it was very important to play to our strengths and do something elegant. Even things like having him on an island retreat where the characters don’t use technology and wear similar clothing. Those things play into our strengths and capabilities as a team.”
The Chant is also the first Brass Token game, and Skupa added that the game started out as a small personal project. “It was our first foray into the independent space, and then we got some funding from the Canada Media Fund, which really helped a small team like ours move forward and bring in new talent. As we brought in more and more people, the game has changed and grown with the different people that have joined. Then we signed up with Prime Matter [the game’s publisher] and that allowed us to grow the game and make it bigger, make our vision a reality and also release it on different platforms. It’s been a slow, steady climb… What you can do with a smaller team is incredible compared to what you could do, you know, five years ago.”
new age horror
GamesBeat also spoke with Siobhan Williams, the actor who plays Jess. According to Williams, Jess struggles with anxiety and suffers from panic attacks. “That’s something we don’t really see in games. Games are getting to a point where the fidelity is the same as a movie, only more immersive for the player. But we still haven’t touched many sensitive topics, so I thought it was very interesting. I loved the concept when they talked about cosmic horror. New Age themes are interesting to me, and the game is very tongue-in-cheek. It doesn’t matter if you like that kind of stuff or not, if you do, you’ll think it’s cool, and if not, you can make fun of it.”
Skupa said that the small team at Brass Token wanted to take a different approach to horror. “Being a smaller team and having that freedom, we wanted to tell that original story using an original location and theme… The art team took symbols like sacred geometry or mandalas and created creatures out of those shapes. You can look at these creatures and think that they are beautiful in some way. We don’t want the game to necessarily feel gritty or disturbing all the time. There is this kind of otherworldly wonder. One of the reasons I like fiction and horror movies is that sense of mystery and wonder.”
The Chant will be released sometime later this year on PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, and PC.
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